Saudi Arabia Dismantles ISIS Cell

A damaged location is seen following a raid by Saudi security forces on an Islamic State cell in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in this handout photo released by Saudi Press Agency on October 5, 2017. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS
A damaged location is seen following a raid by Saudi security forces on an Islamic State cell in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in this handout photo released by Saudi Press Agency on October 5, 2017. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS
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Saudi Arabia Dismantles ISIS Cell

A damaged location is seen following a raid by Saudi security forces on an Islamic State cell in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in this handout photo released by Saudi Press Agency on October 5, 2017. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS
A damaged location is seen following a raid by Saudi security forces on an Islamic State cell in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in this handout photo released by Saudi Press Agency on October 5, 2017. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS

Saudi Arabia said it had dismantled an ISIS cell in a pre-emptive security operation in Riyadh. Two were killed – one suicide bomber blew himself up – and five others were arrested in raids on three locations, the Presidency of State Security said in a statement.

Saudi security forces seized in the operation Kalashnikov rifles, live ammunition, and chemicals used in the manufacture of explosives. An official in the presidency of State Security revealed that the terrorist plot was to target two headquarters of the Ministry of Defense in Riyadh.

According to the statement, the raids targeted three sites belonging to the ISIS cell, one in the neighborhood of Al Rimal east of the city of Riyadh, where a factory to manufacture explosive belts and devices was found. When trapped in the area, a suicide bomber blew himself up with an explosive belt.

"The second location is a residential apartment located in the Nimar neighborhood, west of Riyadh. The security forces killed an armed terrorist in the apartment after he refused to surrender. The safety of all the residents and the armed forces were secured," added the statement.

It continued, "The third location is a stable for horses located in the neighborhood of Al-Ghanamiya in the suburb of Al-Ha'ir, south of Riyadh. The cell used it for meetings and planning their terrorist activities. The names of the five members of the cell will not be disclosed at the present time. Containers of distilled water, inflammable liquids and heavy iron molds used to assemble explosives were also found."

The Presidency of State Security stressed that it will defy any terrorist plots with God's help and with the cooperation of citizens and residents.



2 Million Pilgrims Begin Hajj on Friday with Comprehensive Services at Their Disposal

The pilgrims will spend the day at Mina ahead of heading to Arafat on Saturday. (SPA)
The pilgrims will spend the day at Mina ahead of heading to Arafat on Saturday. (SPA)
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2 Million Pilgrims Begin Hajj on Friday with Comprehensive Services at Their Disposal

The pilgrims will spend the day at Mina ahead of heading to Arafat on Saturday. (SPA)
The pilgrims will spend the day at Mina ahead of heading to Arafat on Saturday. (SPA)

Over 2 million pilgrims will begin on Friday the annual Hajj pilgrimage, starting at Mina, and amid a comprehensive package of services at their disposal aimed at ensuring that they have a safe and smooth journey.

The pilgrims will spend the day at Mina where they will perform the Duhr, Asr, Maghreb and Isha prayers ahead of heading to Arafat on Saturday in what is the most important day of the Hajj.

Mina is considered the greatest tent city of the world and one Saudi Arabia’s mega projects. It stretches 2.5 million square meters to accommodate 2.6 million pilgrims.

Muslim worshippers pray around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah on June 13, 2024, ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (AFP)

The General Directorate of Passports revealed that it has registered 1,547,295 pilgrims this year.

Director of Public Security and head of the Hajj Security Committee Mohammad Al-Bassami inspected the readiness of the Hajj security forces and supporting military forces. He underscored their readiness in implementing security and organizational plans aimed at ensuring the safety of the pilgrims.

He stressed that the security forces will firmly confront anything that may undermine the safety of the pilgrims during their holy journey.

Pilgrims leave after offering prayers outside at the Grand Mosque during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, early Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP)

The Saudi Royal Air Force will also be monitoring the Hajj to provide security and prevent any development that may impact the pilgrimage and worshippers.

Concerned parties at the Interior Ministry will follow up on the security plans and crowd control. They will monitor entrances to the holy city of Makkah to prevent anyone violating Hajj regulations from entering.

Meanwhile, the first of the Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro trips kicked off on Thursday. It will transport pilgrims between nine stations spread between Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah. Seventeen trains will be operated by 7,500 employees.

The first of the Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro trips kicked off on Thursday. (SPA)

The Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence has provided the pilgrims with several digital services through the Tawakkalna app that is available in seven languages: Arabic, English, Filipino, Indonesian, Bengali, Urdu and Hindi. The app provides message, weather and Qibla services, a Quran, and prayer times. It also boasts features from the Nusuk Hajj digital card and other services.

The Public Health Authority will provide a number of services to the pilgrims. It has placed plans to combat infectious diseases, updated protocols and guidelines related to public health risks, and is constantly assessing risks.

The Ministry of Health is continuing its awareness campaign towards pilgrims throughout the holy sites. It is informing them of preventive measures that will help them protect their health and safety during the Hajj. This includes information on how to protect themselves from heat exhaustion due to the soaring heat. Pilgrims are advised to carry umbrellas and drink water.

The health ministry is also providing instant digital medical consultations around the clock. Pilgrims can contact consultants through a dedicated hotline with services provided in six languages: Arabic, English, French, Turkish, Persian and Urdu. They can also be contacted through the X platform or the Sehhaty app.